Advice on out-of-hours GP services over Christmas/New Year

Christmas reporter

Reporter:

Christmas reporter

Limerick doctor warns of looming shortage of GPs after funding cuts

With the Christmas and New Year holidays almost upon us it’s always best to be prepared. This year, the HSE in partnership with GP Out of Hours Services, are asking people to prepare ahead for a healthy and happy Christmas and New Year. 
  
To avoid interruptions to the festivities, it’s important for people to plan in advance for any anticipated medical needs over the holiday period such as prescription renewals.  There are lots of things to think about at this time of year and medication needs can often get overlooked. The HSE is reminding patients to reflect on what is needed and to make the necessary arrangements with your GP practice and pharmacist and not to leave it to the last minute. 
  
Brian Murphy, Head of Planning, HSE Primary Care Division says: “We want to remind people to be prepared this Christmas by renewing prescriptions early and to book GP appointments for routine visits during normal clinic hours.  As the Christmas holidays are the busiest times for the GP Out of Hours Services, we are asking people to reserve this service for people with urgent medical problems only. 
  
Easy Ways to Plan Ahead this Christmas 
1. Book an appointment at your own GP surgery for routine matters - as most GP surgeries will be closed on December 23, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.   
2. If you have a medical condition that requires medication, ensure you order sufficient supplies to cover the whole holiday and any trips away you have planned. 
3. Stock up on home medicine cabinet essentials at your local pharmacy; painkillers- including painkillers for kids, indigestion remedies, cough and cold medicines, plasters, bandages, antiseptic cream, thermometer, contraceptives and a minor injury first aid kit are all sensible items to have to hand. 
4. For common ailments like coughs, colds and sore throats, you’ll find straightforward advice on www.undertheweather.ie 
  
GP Out of Hours Service  - Caredoc Sligo, North Leitrim and West Cavan 

The phone number for the Caredoc Sligo, North Leitrim, and West Cavan GP Out of hours service is 0818 365 399 - Christmas and New Year Opening Hours are as follows:

        The Caredoc service will open from 6pm Friday 22rd until 9am Wednesday 27th December 2017.

        Caredoc normal opening hours will resume for Wednesday Dec 27th, Thursday 28th and Friday 29th, 2017.

        The Caredoc service will open from 6pm Friday 29th December until 9am Tuesday 2nd January 2018.


The GP Out of Hours service is available outside the routine GP surgery times over the holidays including the bank holidays and weekends. This service is for patients who have urgent medical problems that cannot wait until their own GP practice re-opens.  We would encourage people to visit www.hse.ie/winter where they can find:

- straightforward advice on how to get through common illnesses without antibiotics www.undertheweather.ie ;
- how to contact a GP Out of Hours Service;
- where Minor Injury Units are located;
- how to contact the HSE Information Line - HSELive;
- and tips on quitting smoking and getting physically active. 
 
Under the Weather 
The www.undertheweather.ie website was developed by the HSE in partnership with GPs and pharmacists.  It gives sensible, practical information on a range of common illnesses like colds, flu, earaches, sore throats and tummy bugs.  The information is provided for adults and children and tells you how long an illness should last, what to expect, and what you can do to cope with, and recover from, these illnesses.  The site includes a series of videos featuring GPs and Pharmacists who offer their expertise on dealing with these common illnesses, practical remedies, and advice on when to seek help from either a pharmacist or a doctor.